Jeffrey Goodman's work called "Ancient Egyptian Music - Invocation of the Great Pyramid of GIza" is the second work of his musical trilogy based on a contemplation of old Egyptian hieroglyphs showing musical performances from about 2500BC. ("Ancient Egyptian Music - Anthem to the Rising Sun" is the first work, and "Ancient Egyptian Music - Anthem to the Rising Moon" is the third work in the series. Each of the three tracks has been released as downloadable MP3 singles.)
Although the sacred music of ancient Egypt has been lost for millenia and is still shrouded in mystery, there are nevertheless countless hints and intimations of the exquisite place of music within the culture of dynastic Egyptian society. As yet, to our knowledge, there is no known musical notation which, if deciphered, would allow a direct transcription of their music for interpretation and performances today.
Nevertheless, after much research, Jeffrey Goodman has composed and recorded music that is derived as much as possible from the archeological evidence which has survived to this day. Such evidence includes actual instruments such as ancient harps and flutes which reside in museum collections around the world. So, for example, it has been reported that one flute dating from the 3rd millenia BC, when played, was pitched to an aeolian pentatonic scale. We do know that music pervaded every aspect of Egyptian life. This is evidenced by the fortunate abundance of images depicting music played in both sacred and more secular contexts. We can see many different ensembles of instruments, as well as an occasional depiction of a kind of music master or conductor, who appears to be signaling the musicians with hand gestures.
This work recreates what has been called the "activation" of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Some researchers have determined that the natural resonance of Thoth's Sacred Chamber in the center of the pyramid has a musical pitch of F#. Acoustic measurements of the winds which encircle the pyramid also have the same resonance. A few investigators believe that the ancient Egyptians knew that the resonant frequency of the Earth itself is a fraction of the same F# pitch. Another fragmentary scroll instructs the musicians/priests to perform their invocation ceremony exactly three times. After the physical construction of the pyramid the esoteric tradition called for the activation of the pyramid so that it would take its proper place in the cosmos, mediating between earth, heaven and the humans who partook of both realms.
And just as many meditative traditions practiced today call for the meditator to call upon earth energies to flow into the body from the feet, then into the heart center, and finally to connect to celestial energies of heaven, so does this music call earth energies by resonating and chanting musical notes at the F# pitch. A deep listening may guide the listener to travel in imagination back countless centuries and partake of the original activation of the Great Pyramid of Giza within the sacred chamber of Thoth.
The music of this track is intended to be both an homage and an evocation of the great lost musical culture of ancient Egypt.
Cover art copyright © 2010 by Homa Goodman.